Mid Summer Stream

Mid Summer Stream

Mid Summer Stream

After recent rain the landscape is buzzing with chaotic energy.

I used a little ‘Liquin’ in the mixes in this painting. It is normally used to speed up the drying time in traditional oil paints. I use Alkyd Fast Drying oil colours, usually with no medium. I am adding a little ‘Liquin’ to slow down the drying as the Alkyd paint is drying so fast in the warm weather.

This was most noticeable in the sky colours. These colours are blended and mixed quite a bit. In recent times I’ve noticed before I’ve finished the sky the initial colours (of the sky) are so set they are almost ‘tacky’ or ‘gritty’. Not good to convey the soft misty nature of clouds.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. Liquin medium and White Spirits solvent. I used a single large filbert bristle and a ‘liner’ for details. The size is 16″ x 12″ un-stretched canvas and was painted in a single session of about 90 minutes.

Here’s the painting process, see you soon.

Summer Sunset

Summer Sunset

Summer Sunset

Recent sunsets have a distinct lack of red in the glowing skies. It this because the wet weather is cleaning dust from the atmosphere?

As you probably know, I use Alkyd fast drying oil paint for some of the colours. In this case they are all Alkyd, except the Cobalt Blue. This is because Cobalt Blue is only available as Cobalt Blue ‘Hue” in the Alkyd range. It is probably OK as its produced by W&N, but I have Cobalt Blue as a standard artist oil so I used it. Alkyds and standard oils are mixable and work well together in mixes. Problems can occur if the Alkyd is applied in layers on top of standard oils (in the traditional manner) because it dries so fast.

And it does dry fast. Forgetting to clean the brushes for a few hours will be disastrous. The advantage, of course, is that the painting is completely dry in 24 hours (thin layer of paint, solvent only). If I needed, I could ‘oil out’ (with slow drying medium) after another 24 hours and the painting is finished in a few days.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16″ x 12″.

Here’s the painting process. See you soon.

Low Water

Low Water

Low Water

Lakeside debris, dried and bleached. A nice contrast to the cool blue of the lake.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

Here’s the painting process, see you soon.

Early May

Early May

Early May

Summer is late this year. This scene is how I presume the landscape will be in a few weeks.

There are different ranges of colours I use for different moods or conditions in the landscape. My ranges are composed of 3 primary colours with the occasional addition of a secondary. This secondary is usually green, as this colour is the most used in landscape and sometimes the yellow and blue do not produce a good green. For example, in winter landscapes I will often use Yellow Ochre and Cerulean Blue. The resultant green from this mix is OK in dull winter paintings (here). Using these colours and also having the colours of spring or summer would require a ‘tube’ green to be added to the mix.

In this painting I used a combination of nice primary colours – Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose & Ultramarine Blue. The resultant mixes produced ‘Constable’ colours, deep rich purple shadows and strong greens which keep their vibrance when lightened with white. In my current painting method, when I use these 3 colours I try and include each of the colours in every mix. So the green made from the blue and yellow, will have a little red included or the purple made from the red and blue, will have a little yellow added. Sometimes the addition of the third colour is from the under layer as in the sky in this painting (yellow). Or if I plan the succession of colour mixes, what remains on the brush of the previous colour is enough to add to the new mix. That is why I use so few brushes and don’t have to clean them too often.

Here’s the video of the process. See you soon.

Cloney East

Cloney East

Cloney East

Travelling south from Monasterevin to Athy takes you through Cloney. At this time of year, the low lying sun makes this an uncomfortable journey as the glare is blinding on this long straight stretch of road. This scene presented me with an unusual composition full of contrast and glittering after recent rain. Coincidentally the river, which runs parallel to the road, is called River Boherbaun or, in English, white road. Appropriate when you look along this white streak on the landscape.

The light source in this painting is within the scene, creating a silhouette effect. This is a problem, with dark areas threatening to dominate the composition. Two areas stood out as potential shadows problems. The tree on the right and the bridge. I reduced the volume of the tree and made the dark areas less solid with light peeping through the ivy covered tree trunk. The bridge was a large dark area and by adding a little reflected light and leaving the two arches, broke up the shadow.

The real world rarely obliges the artist with an ideal composition. There were many changes made in this scene, like the relative size of the tree but nevertheless, the scene was instantly recognisable.

This painting has only 3 colours, Yellow Ochre, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 15″ x 12″.

Here’s the video. See you soon.

April Evening

April Evening

April Evening

This unusual sky occurred a few times over the last weeks. Not quite a sunset, but a break in the storm clouds on the horizon producing a band of orange light several hours before sunset.

During the recent controversy concerning the use of cadmium pigment in artists paints, I had a look at possible alternative colours in the event of a total ban on the use of cadmium. I bought a tube of Indian Yellow as it looked a little like Cadmium Yellow. As it turned out, the ban was applied to general industry only and not to artists paints, so cadmium yellow is safe for the foreseeable future.

I used Indian Yellow in this painting where I would normally have used cadmium. Its a strong yellow/orange colour similar to Cadmium Yellow but a little more orange. Its very transparent and so is a good glazing paint. However, in mixes it looses its brilliant golden colour to produce dull secondaries. Notice the left end of the orange band above. In this painting it suits the situation as it does not need to glow as in a traditional sunset subject. As an ‘all prima’ painter, I will be careful in using this colour if I need brilliant effects. I can appreciate how this colour would be great in traditional oil painting. Used as a glaze over pink, for example, would make a sunset glow.

This painting uses only 3 colours, Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and Prussian Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16″ x 12″ and was painted in a single session (wet on wet).

Here’s the video.

Bursted Bank

Bursted Bank

Bursted Bank

Although chilly and dry there are still areas under water from the previous wet months. The dampness and low temperatures results in fog-like mists more often seen in the late autumn.

Prussian Blue is a strong transparent paint. In the limited palette of 3 colours, where this blue is the only blue, a strong red or yellow is needed to control its tinting power. In this subject the overpowering blue was just right for this early morning scene in spite of the strong red. The strong red in this case is Indian Red, a rust colour similar to Burnt Sienna, but not a good mixer. By this I mean that as its added to blue it will change quickly to a black/purple, difficult to control. If placed as an under layer and the other colours painted on top (wet on wet) its easier to control the colour change. For example, the distant hill, in the centre of the painting, has a reddish tinge because of the under layer of red. Too much brush work will result in either the red being absorbed, or else dominating the colour to become a rusty blob. This is dependent on the amount of red initially applied.

3 colours (Yellow Ochre, Indian Red, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The painting is 16″ x 11″ and was painted in a single ‘wet on wet’ session in under 2 hours.

Touch of Frost

Touch of Frost

Touch of Frost

One of the rare frosty days this winter.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

The painting process is here:

Corner Field

Corner Field

Corner Field

Frosty weather at last. The recent mild weather with heavy rain has left flood water in the most unusual places, as in this corner. The colours in the landscape will change. The icy dew on the grass, now a silver sheen, will start the sepia colouring process.

I’m still using the same 3 colours I used in the previous painting (Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue). Some of the paints I use are Alkyd colours. They are quick drying oils and are mixable with standard oils. In traditional oil painting, that is painting in layers and allowing the layer to dry before applying the next, they are good as base layers. As final layers over standard oils they can lead to problems as they dry quickly sealing off the slower paint and retarding the drying.

I don’t paint in layers and the standard oils and Alkyd paints are thoroughly mixed or blended in a single layer so, hopefully, I won’t have problems with flaking after a few years. The use of Alkyd paint allows me to paint fine lines ‘wet on wet’, difficult with standard oil colours.

I’m often asked how I manage to do those fine lines onto a wet underpainting and this is part of how its done. I also do not use a medium, only solvent and this evaporates quickly leaving the underpainting, with its Alkyd content, almost ‘tacky’.

The painting is 12″ x 9″. I used 3 colours (plus black and white), 3 brushes (a large filbert, a medium flat, and an fine liner) and solvent only.

Here’s the painting process, see you soon.